Ribble Valley falls silent as thousands remember the fallen

People across the Ribble Valley turned out for remembrance services to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending their country.
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In Clitheroe, the Town Mayor and Mayoress, Councillors Simon and Donna O’Rourke, led tributes to the fallen on Remembrance Sunday.

A first parade, led by Clitheroe Town Crier Roland Hailwood and Clitheroe Town Band, was followed by a Remembrance Sunday service at Clitheroe Parish Church, conducted by the Rev Andy Froud. A second parade after the church service was to the war memorial where many more residents had gathered to pay their respects.

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A short service at the war memorial included extracts from For the Fallen and the Kohima epitaph read by Mr Brian Nightingale, the Last Post played by Donna Briggs of Clitheroe Town Band and the two minutes’ silence. Wreaths were laid on behalf of many organisations in Clitheroe. The service at the war memorial was live-streamed by Gregorys Audio Visual on Clitheroe Town Council's Facebook page for those who were unable to attend in person.

Residents in Clitheroe pay their respects. Picture by Ken GeddesResidents in Clitheroe pay their respects. Picture by Ken Geddes
Residents in Clitheroe pay their respects. Picture by Ken Geddes

Services to honour the war heroes were also held in Whalley and Billington. After the church services, people were asked to make their own way to the Whalley War Memorial where a joint service of remembrance was held with the last post sounded at 11am. Later on the Billington and Whalley brass band club was open to welcome guests to the afternoon service of remembrance. After servings of pie and peas provided by one of the local pubs, supported by generous donations made by local businesses and residents, guests made their way to the Billington and Langho War Memorial. Donations raised locally, paid for the various costs of this event, including the Accrington Pipe Band who lead the Sea Cadets to the Billington and Langho War Memorial. Here, they were met by lots of local bystanders who joined in with the service of remembrance led by the Rev. Tracy from St.Leonard’s in Langho.

Whalley resident, Neil Martin is among those who attended. He said: "This was one of the busiest Remembrance Sundays I have witnessed in both Whalley, Billington and Langho for many years. The aim by our local residents is to support the reforming of the Whalley and District Royal British Legion who unfortunately have been unable this year to arrange events locally due to the pandemic and the passing of key members of the RBL branch. This has been helped by support of our local councillors with Ged Mirfin being the lead with them, some remaining members of the RBL in Whalley and some fundraising and physical support by Whalley and District Lions Club."

Meanwhile, Ribblesdale High School Head Boy Durell and Head Girl Hannah were immensely proud to represent the school at this Sunday's memorial service in Clitheroe. Both pupils found the experience profoundly moving and executed their duties with perfect decorum and respect for all servicemen and women, past and present. All pupils at Ribblesdale spent time last week reflecting on the far-reaching impact of war and terror on not only the servicemen and women themselves, but on all who hold them dear, especially those left behind when the ultimate sacrifice is made.

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A school spokesman said: "Hannah and Durell had already paid tribute to those lost to wars around the world at Thursday's commemoration outside of school, when they shared a beautiful reading of Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen' and Deputy Head Boy Matthew played the last post before our two minutes silence was observed. On Sunday, Hannah and Durell again lent their voices to the call for peace in our world as they responded, along with the townspeople of Clitheroe gathered at the memorial, to Rev. Froud's challenge to commit to peace for all people and the creation of a just and fair future for all."